Elvis Lives! JFK Lives! The Mummy Lives!
This movie is a terrific horror comedy. Based on an excellent and highly original short story by Joe R. Lansdale and directed and scripted by Don Coscarelli, it is one of the best horror comedies ever made -- ranking with, yet very different from, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein or Shaun of the Dead.
The always brilliant Bruce Campbell portrays an aging Elvis Presley in a performance worthy of an Oscar, if only the Academy considered low budget horror films in giving out its awards. It seems that Elvis didn't really die of a drug overdose; tiring of the life of a celebrity, he had swapped places with an Elvis impersonator several years before the impersonator's OD death.
Elvis is living in a nursing home in Texas and has cancer in a very undesirable male site. As if that wasn't bad enough, he learns that the aged residents of the nursing home are being preyed upon by an evil Egyptian mummy that dresses like a wild west gunslinger.
In his battle with the revivified mummy he finds an ally in fellow nursing home resident John F. Kennedy, played by Ossie Davis. JFK explains that after he was wounded in Dallas, Lyndon Johnson had him dyed black so LBJ could seize the presidency.
Ossie Davis as JFK -- what can I say about such a brilliant casting choice. The great actor goes out on a high note in his final role. Campbell is spot on in his portrayal of Elvis. He makes the most of the character's comedic opportunities but also does a fine job conveying an aging man looking back on his past with regrets and faced with his own fast approaching mortality. Both stars give highly nuanced performances that make their fantastic characters seem quite believable and sympathetic.
You may be wondering how a mummy wound up in a nursing home in Texas. Well, there is a logical explanation but you should watch the movie if you want to know what it is.
Bubba Ho-Tep ends with the promise that Elvis will return in Bubba Nosferatu. Apparently that is really going to happen soon. Don Coscarelli will direct again. Bruce Campbell, regrettably, has turned down the opportunity to play Elvis again in the sequel. The role of Elvis will reportedly be played by another great actor, Ron Perlman. Paul Giamati will co-star in the role of Col. Tom Parker, Elvis's long-time manager -- also reputedly long dead.